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Duke the Lost Engine is the twenty-fifth book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends, An engine lost in the South American jungle was found after 30 years. A tree had grown through its chimney and hornets nested in its firebox. When mended it gave good service for 30 more years.

"The Duke" was lost too; not in the jungle, but in his own shed which a landslide had buried. Not long ago he was dug out and mended. His own railway had been pulled up, so he is now at the Thin Controller's. The Author



Duke, Falcon, and Stuart are three engines who live on the Mid Sodor Railway. Duke is wise, but Falcon and Stuart are young and cheeky and often make fun of "Granpuff," as Duke is affectionately known. This goes on until Duke tells them the story of a reckless engine named Stanley, otherwise known as No. 2, who was rough and often derailed and was punished by being turned into a pumping engine. The three have many adventures together, until their line closes. Falcon and Stuart are purchased and in due course wind up on the Skarloey Railway, where they are painted red and re-named Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively, but Duke is not wanted and is sheltered in the Arlesdale shed. Duke, unaware that the current Duke does not know of his existence, goes to sleep...


In the old days of the Mid Sodor Railway, when Sir Handel was blue and named Falcon, the Manager arranged for him to double-head with Duke to learn the mountain road. Falcon ignores Duke's warnings and when they reach a sharp part of the line, he derails, and hangs dangerously over the edge. Duke holds back, but is in need of more water to build up more steam. With the help of the passengers gathering water from a cottage, he gathers enough strength to pull Falcon back. Falcon is grateful, but Duke is modest and says he only did what he did because he did not want Falcon's paint spoilt if he rolled down the mountain.

You Can't Win

Duke is old and Stuart jokes he may have to be kept in order. Duke merely laughs, but later his valves begin leaking and Falcon and Stuart come to the rescue. The cavalcade split up at Marthwaite, as Falcon takes Duke's passengers to catch their boat at Arlesburgh, while Stuart takes Falcon's train with Duke coupled in front. Duke and his driver, hearing Stuart's triumphant chortles, make a plan, and on the last hill Duke gives a great effort. At Arlesdale, a boy inquires as to why there were two engines, to which his father replies Stuart needed assistance, and so Duke came to help.

Sleeping Beauty

The Small Controller, and both the Thin and Fat Clergymen hear the story of Duke and go looking for him. They then offer the small engines a chance to be in a book if they are good. After a long search the Fat Clergyman stumbles and falls onto Duke's boiler. Duke is apprehensive, but cheers up when he finds the Duke is coming. Duke, to his dismay, is sent to Arlesburgh by lorry, but is happier to discover he is still popular, and Donald carries him to the Skarloey Railway on a flatbed. Sir Handel and Peter Sam find him beside the shed, and tease him by saying they can now keep him in order. Duke plays along and falls asleep happily in the sunshine.



  • Falcon/Sir Handel
  • Stuart/Peter Sam
  • Duke
  • Stanley (not named)
  • Skarloey (does not speak)
  • The Mid Sodor Railway Manager (does not speak)
  • Rheneas (mentioned)
  • The Thin Controller (mentioned)
  • Richard Robert Norramby (mentioned)
  • Other Mid Sodor Railway Engines (indirectly mentioned)
  • John Arnold Norramby (indirectly mentioned)
  • Robert Charles Norramby (indirectly mentioned)


  • Skarloey
  • Sir Handel/Falcon
  • Peter Sam
  • Duncan
  • Duke
  • The Mid Sodor Railway Manager
  • Rheneas (does not speak)
  • Stanley (cameo)
  • Duck (mentioned)
  • The Dukes (mentioned)

You Can't Win

  • Falcon
  • Stuart
  • Duke
  • Caroline (possible cameo)
  • John Arnold Norramby (indirectly mentioned)

Sleeping Beauty

  • Sir Handel/Falcon
  • Peter Sam/Stuart
  • Duke
  • Bert
  • Rex
  • Mike
  • Richard Robert Norramby
  • The Small Controller
  • The Thin Clergyman
  • The Fat Clergyman
  • Donald (does not speak)
  • The Owner (does not speak)
  • James (cameo)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Oliver (cameo)
  • Skarloey (cameo)
  • Rheneas (cameo)
  • The Thin Controller (mentioned)
  • Mr. Hugh (mentioned)



  • Arlesdale Sheds
  • Arlesdale
  • Skarloey Engine Sheds
  • United States (mentioned)


  • Skarloey Engine Sheds
  • Arlesdale Sheds
  • The Mountain Road
  • Ulfstead Road
  • Arlesdale (mentioned)
  • River Arle (mentioned)

You Can't Win

  • Arlesdale Sheds
  • Arlesdale
  • Arlesdale Green
  • Marthwaite
  • Arlesburgh Harbour (mentioned)

Sleeping Beauty

  • Arlesburgh West Shed
  • Arlesdale Sheds
  • Arlesburgh West
  • Arlesburgh Shed
  • Skarloey Engine Sheds
  • Arlesburgh Bridge Street (map only)
  • Arlesdale (map only)
  • Arlesdale Green (map only)
  • Chibbyr Ulf (map only)
  • Ffarquhar Road (map only)
  • Ulfstead (map only)


  • Amazon Rainforest (indirectly mentioned in foreword)


  • Stanley is only referred to as 'No. 2' in Granpuff.
  • The story of Stanley converted into a pumping engine comes from the real life event when Ffestiniog locomotive Palmerston was spared as a stationary boiler up until 1993.
  • Bulldog is based on what happened on the Ffestiniog Railway when Duke's counterpart Prince double headed with an 0-4-0 tank engine (now a 2-4-0 tender engine) named Linda who derailed at what is now known as Linda's Leap.
  • Sleeping Beauty is based on a true story about the locomotive Coronel Church discovered in the Amazon Rainforest, where it had been left abandoned for 30 years.
  • The sixth illustration of Granpuff is identical to the one C. Reginald Dalby drew for the first illustration of Sir Handel in Four Little Engines.
  • The map held by the Fat Clergyman in the first illustration of Sleeping Beauty appears to be based on the map of Sodor drawn by John T. Kenney in 1958.
  • The title of Bulldog is a reference to the symbolic animal of the United Kingdom. 
  • During Bulldog, when the passengers create a chain from the cottage to Duke to give him water, it may be a reference to the Titfield Thunderbolt, although that film was released in cinemas in 1952.
  • The events of "Granpuff" take place in 1928 and 1947. The events of Bulldog take place in 1904 (there is an error here, as Stanley is pictured in the shed, but was not built until the Great War and acquired by the MSR after the war). The events of You Can't Win! take place during the late 1920's. The present day events take place in 1969.
  • In the second story Bulldog, the quote 'Stood firm like a bulldog and wouldn't let go' comes from the stereotype of the type of dogs called bull breeds in which they are said to not let go of something they bite.


  • While puffing through the tunnel, Falcon gains a headlamp.
  • In the first three illustrations of Granpuff, Duke's footplate is curved, however through the rest of the book it is straight.
  • The text from You Can't Win! says that Duke "puffed and roared as though the whole train's weight was on his buffers," but Duke has no buffers.
  • In the second illustration of Bulldog, Stanley can be seen in the back of the shed, despite the fact that he was said to have come to the railway before Falcon and that Falcon did not know him beforehand, creating a continuity error. Furthermore, the story takes place in 1904, before Stanley's basis was built.
  • In the first illustration of Sleeping Beauty, the map on the wall spells Ulfstead as Ulfsted.
  • In the third illustration of Granpuff, Duke's face is slanted sideways.
  • In the fourth illustration of Bulldog, Falcon's nameplate reads Falon.
  • In the third illustration of Bulldog, Duke's tender is missing the Mid-Sodor Railway crest.
  • Throughout most of You Can't Win, Duke's footplate is straight, but in the last illustration, it dips in the front and rear.


“Engines come and engines go; Granpuff 'goes on' for ever!"”
―Falcon and Stuart
“Excuse me, are you a Vandal? Driver told me Vandals break in and smash things”
“Listen, Bud, in the States we don't care a dime for a few spills”

In Other Languages

Language Title
Japanese きえた機関車